Grand Rapids pilot proud to take 500 Young Eagles up in the air

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Rusty Eichorn hit a special milestone on Monday.

The Grand Rapids pilot flew his 500th kid who signed up for the Young Eagles program.

It was Caroline Cargill, and her sister Quinn was number 499.

Quinn said, “It was really fun. And you could see so much more.”

Caroline added, “I liked the headphones and microphone. And the rollercoaster motion.”

According to the EAA, Experimental Aircraft Association, the Young Eagles program launched in 1992, and is dedicated to giving young people ages 8-17 their first free ride in an airplane.

It’s the only program of its kind, with the sole mission to introduce and inspire kids in the world of aviation.

Eichorn started this about 20 years ago. “It’s about paying it forward. We are all getting older, and want to make sure this generation likes aviation. I remember my first flight at six, and the second one at 10, and I was bitten by the bug.”

Today, over 2.3 million young people have enjoyed a free introductory flight through the Young Eagles program. These flights are made possible through the generosity of EAA member volunteers.

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Like Eichorn. “One Young Eagle wants to become a commercial pilot. He’s a flight instructor now,” he said.

For more info about the Young Eagles program: